September 2, 2011
Large nonprofit organizations are increasingly utilizing disaster and hardship relief funds as a way to help team members suffering from the after-effects of an unexpected disaster or hardship. For example, in 2010, Northwestern University established the NU Cares Fund, a relief fund for faculty and staff to receive financial assistance in times of need. Across the United States, relief funds are on the rise as corporations and universities establish funds to increase team member morale and to help team members who are experiencing unforeseen emergencies.
By allowing team members to deal with personal hardships, corporations and universities with relief funds ensure effective company growth and development. Five years prior to the establishment of the NU Cares Fund, Loyola University Maryland established its Employee Crisis Fund. Many relief funds are in response to team member communities across the United States expressing a need for a financial safety net to help team members who are facing temporary financial burdens. Nonprofits, particularly in educational and healthcare fields, are often the most sensitive to these concerns, but for-profit organizations are increasingly paying attention as well.
One way to ensure that your team members are engaged with the program is to show them that their donated dollars are being spent efficiently. When donations are tax deductible and grants are tax free, each dollar donated is effectively utilized, and you can leverage this when promoting the fund to your team members. Nonprofit organizations, such as universities and hospitals, should consider utilizing their existing tax expertise to optimize their relief funds. That optimization can then be incorporated into promotional materials, emphasizing to team members that their dollars will go almost entirely to co-workers in need, rather than the IRS.
Source: Northwestern University, “NU Cares: A Fund for Faculty and Staff in Crisis,” http://www.northwestern.edu/nusac/nu-cares/; Northwestern University, “NU Cares: Frequently Asked Questions,” http://www.northwestern.edu/nusac/nu-cares/frequently-asked-questions.html.